The Energy of California with Obi Kaufmann
This in-person interview was recorded on November 29, 2023 on land that was originally inhabited by and stolen from the Ohlone people.
A winding road leads me to an urban oasis in the Oakland Hills, called Huckleberry Botanic Preserve. The name sounds like jam and when I arrive and peek over the edge of the forest from the parking lot, the sweetness surely envelops me. Fresh from a cleansing rain, the multi-toned green Lichen sparkles in the breeze, its scent intoxicating. Yellow blossoms of the Bay Laurel hang on the branches like glowing ornaments in the late fall low-light. I’m enchanted.
Today I’m here with author, artist, and naturalist Obi Kaufmann. Obi has created five books to date on the biodiversity of and love for, California, resplendent with watercolor images, soulful prose, and deep wisdom. Who is Obi? Upon meeting him, I experience a truly unique person. Lively, thoughtful, sensitive, quick-witted, artist, creator of worlds, huge-hearted being. Aligned with the energies of Nature, forging maps into fabled lands that are oh-so-real, Obi offers a majestic entrée into the place we know as California. He was born and raised here, but stays by choice, to attend to his greater calling of illuminating and elucidating the vast energies of Nature, through the lens of California’s golden glory. Our conversation touches on hope, preservation, imagination, fire, and even takes a Tolkien turn.